Imparting a classical education at home. Check out the Edwards Academy.

Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Edwards Academy Happenings

Layering is a lovely part of the classical method of education. In our home academy, we are busy applying the first layer of chronological world history since our kids are mostly lower grammar age. And what fun it is!

The Christmas break marked for us the halfway point of Tapestry of Grace Year 3. Now on week 22, we are beginning the study of the Civil War. Last week covered Florence Nightingale, the Crimean War, The Charge of the Light Brigade, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Tubman, Follow the Drinking Gourd, and John Brown. Whew! That's a lot for one week! (For Tapestry users, we condensed a bit from week 20 and 21 last week, catching up from the half-week after New Year's.)

Our second grade daughters (twins) were captivated by the life of Florence Nightingale. Meanwhile, our five-year-old son latched on to the drama of The Charge of the Light Brigade.
(Painting by Richard Caton Woodville, 1854)
The battle map that we found really helped Lane (he's five) understand Tennyson's poem.
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them,

I'm tempted to quote the full poem here, but instead you may find it here.

After blazing through the Crimean War in a day, we re-focused on the United States and pending Civil War. We beat a regular path to the library and thoroughly enjoyed Harriet and the Runaway Book by Johanna Johnston (unfortunately now out of print-check your library or find it used here).

Follow the Drinking Gourd is another family favorite. Our library has a video of this story by Jeanette Winter that is narrated by Morgan Freeman. [Thank you, Joel Bresler for clarifying that the video is actually a second story based on this folk song, not the one by Jeanette Winter--see his comment for more info. 1/15/08]

We read about abolitionist John Brown on Friday. As I read from John Brown: One Man Against Slavery, the kids drew illustrations of John Brown. This book about Brown's life is written in the voice of his daughter, Annie. She struggles with the moral judgments her father made, even as she admires his courage. This was Lane's first introduction to Brown (and the evils of slavery are just now being introduced to his tender heart).

As I read "They found Father guilty of treason. . . He was executed the next morning," Lane cut in and asked, "Did he believe in Jesus?" I looked up from the book and saw Lane standing by his desk, his face crumpled up and his fist near his eye, fighting back tears.

In four years, when Lane encounters John Brown as a nine-year-old, he'll be able to wrestle with the complicated nature of John Brown's abolitionism. For now it is enough to know that Lane understands that John Brown was a real human being who believed deeply in freeing slaves. And his life story was real enough to Lane that he mourned his loss. As Lane mourned, I celebrated the victory as his teacher.


Joel Bresler said...

Hi, thanks very much for your post! For more information on the Drinking Gourd song, I invite you to visit my site,

Please note that there are TWO kids books based directly on the song, one by Jeanette Winter and one by Bernardine Connelly (which was originally a video, then a book.) The latter one is narrated by Morgan Freeman. The Jeanette Winter audiobook version is narrated by Tony Award-winning actor Ron Richardson.

All the best,


Mrs. Edwards said...

Thanks, Joel. I think we stumbled upon the two different children's books simply because our library had the Jeanette Winter book on the shelf and the Morgan Freeman (Bernardine Connelly) video in their collection. The kids loved both stories

Thanks for your website. My kids loved it!
Mrs. Edwards

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